MoboReader> Literature > England under the Tudors

   Chapter 13 No.13

England under the Tudors By Arthur D. Innes Characters: 33163

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05


EDWARD VI (ii), 1549-53-THE DUDLEY ASCENDANCY

When Somerset fell, the state of affairs which his successors had to face was singularly threatening, calling for the most skilful statesmanship both at home and abroad.

[Sidenote: 1549 (Winter) The Situation]

Externally, the chance of maintaining the hold on Boulogne was disappearing: but while it was maintained, the hostility of France was assured. Scotland, defiant, allied with France and helped by French troops, might become actively embarrassing. Within two months of the Protector's fall Pope Paul died. He was succeeded by Julius III. who promptly made friends with the Emperor; to whom there was now hardly any open resistance save at Magdeburg which stubbornly refused to accept the Interim. With the Protestants apparently under his heel, and on good terms with the Papacy, he might assume a hostile attitude to England. The one hope for her lay in buying from France the friendship of the party in that country which, ever mindful of the Italian provinces, might make common cause against the Emperor if the immediate source of friction with England were removed.

[Sidenote: State of the Country]

At home there were the rural discontents and the swelling ardours of religious partisanship to deal with, while the financial position was growing worse from day to day. The natural fall in the value of silver everywhere, owing to the quantities of the metal now beginning to pour into Spain from America, depreciated the purchasing power of wages; and this was made infinitely worse in England by the persistent debasement of the coinage. The rulers of the country rewarded their own very inconspicuous merits with the forfeited spoils of the Church, instead of applying them to the public needs. The Treasury was nearly empty, and was maintained even at its alarmingly low level only by borrowing from foreign bankers at usurious interest. For the time being, the country had lost its moral balance; landowners, merchants, and manufacturers were absorbed in rapid money-making at the expense of their traditional integrity. Religion had fallen into a controversial wrangle between contradictory dogmas; the most earnest of the Reformers have given us the blackest pictures of the prevailing irreligion and moral anarchy, rampant products of theological acrimony. It is true that the Moralists of all ages have usually been engaged in expressing a vehement conviction that the decadence of their own age exceeds that of any other known to history; and within the next decade, the denunciations of Latimer were to be lost in the paean of the martyrs. Had the corruption he depicts been vital, those sublime tragedies would never have taken place. But for the time, chaos prevailed. It is true that some of the subjects of controversy were logically vital ultimately; but it is true also that, absorbed in them, the controversialists lost sight of other matters more spiritually vital immediately. If the Christian is taught that his duty to God is comprised in the acceptance or non-acceptance of dogmas and ceremonial observances, while his duty towards his neighbour comprises the whole of his moral conduct; if then his spiritual guides omit to preach the latter in their devotion to the former subject; his morality is in danger of being entirely neglected. "This ought they to have done, but not to leave the other undone."

[Sidenote: 1550 Terms with France]

In one respect, the new Government recognised the force of facts. It made up its mind that France must be reconciled by the evacuation of Boulogne, if any colourable concession could be obtained in return. France however so obviously held the whip-hand that even Paget's diplomacy could do little to qualify the completeness of the surrender. There was a brave display of preparation for a determined defence, but the negotiators on both sides were fully aware of its emptiness. There was nothing that Henry II. desired more than the termination of strife with his excellent neighbours, provided that they would hand over Boulogne, cancel most of the money claim under the treaty of 1546 for which they held it as security, and withdraw their troops from the forts they still retained in Scotland. The reconciliation might then be sealed by the betrothal of Edward to a French princess, the young Queen of Scots being bespoken by the Dauphin-only nothing considerable in the way of a dowry could be expected. France however would pay within a few months what might pass as a ransom for Boulogne. Such were the terms which Paget, the cleverest statesman in England, was obliged to advise the Council to accept: though the suggested marriage project was dropped. The treaty of peace was signed on March 24th (1550).

[Sidenote: Warwick's Protestant zeal]

On the religious question, Warwick lost little time in showing that he was on the same side as Somerset. For a moment, the Protector's fall raised vain hopes in the breasts of those who supported the Old Learning. Gardiner appealed from his prison: so did Bonner who not long before had not only been incarcerated for the second time, but even, in October, deprived of his see. It was useless. Warwick saw that he must either pose as an enthusiastic reformer, or bring the reactionaries into power. In the former case, he could lead; in the latter, he would have to throw himself on the support of the old nobility. Not only Gardiner but Norfolk also would have to be released from the Tower, and he himself would inevitably drop to the second rank. Warwick, with a fine consistency, never permitted any other motive to influence him when his own aggrandisement was involved in the issues. The first step of the parliament which re-assembled in November (1549) was to pass an Act for the removal of Images. Gardiner, and Bonner, remained in prison. Even an attempt of the whole body of Bishops to have something of their disciplinary jurisdiction restored, in the interests of public morality, was quietly suppressed. Three more bishops of the Old learning were at intervals sent to prison and deprived-Heath, Day, and Tunstal. Every vacancy was filled from the ranks of the advanced reformers.

[Sidenote: A new treasons and felonies Act]

Norfolk, like the bishops, continued a prisoner. Somerset on the other hand, no longer regarded as dangerous, was released in February, the major part of the fine imposed on him was remitted, and after a brief interval he was even re-instated in the Privy Council, and his official reconciliation with Warwick sealed by a family marriage. But while his anti-clerical policy was carried to much greater lengths, his social policy and his relaxation of the treason laws were entirely reversed. Parliament made felony or treason out of assemblages presumed to intend disturbance of the peace, to some extent legalised enclosures, made acts against Privy Councillors treasonable as if they were against the King, and included in the ban assemblies for the purpose of altering the laws.

[Sidenote: Activity of the extreme Reformers]

The peace with France still left opportunities for friction; but Warwick's reforming enthusiasm drove him into the course-manifestly irritating to the Emperor-of interfering with the private devotions of the Princess Mary, who was ordered to give up the Mass: to which she replied that she was bound by the law as left by her father, and would not recognise orders in contravention thereof, as long as her brother was a minor. Charles himself was at this very time reverting to an intolerant policy in the Low Countries, and Protestants were hastening to England from Flanders. The risk that the Emperor might adopt Mary's cause in arms was obvious, and it was known that the Guise party at the French court would miss no opportunity of reviving the war with England in the hope of capturing Calais. In the meantime, the extreme reformers of the Swiss school were steadily gaining weight, in comparison with that section which, like Cranmer, continued to favour less drastic changes. One of their chiefs, Hooper, being nominated to a bishopric, for a long time declined to accept it on account of the vestments ordered to be worn at consecration-an attitude however for which he was condemned by all the cooler heads, including some of the most advanced. Hooper ultimately gave way-a narrow-minded but sincere man, who at the last won the crown of martyrdom. An unsuccessful effort was made to obtain Gardiner's release-the failure being the more pointed because Somerset interested himself on the bishop's part. Gardiner, with thorough consistency, declared himself ready to accept the Prayer-book since it did not preclude his view of the Sacrament; but he would not profess opinions in contradiction of the doctrines formally affirmed in the last reign. In the end, he was not only kept in prison, but deprived of his see of Winchester.

[Sidenote 1: 1551 The Council and the Emperor]

[Sidenote 2: Charles's difficulties]

In the early months of 1551 the friction with the Emperor on the subject of the Princess Mary's Mass was becoming alarming; Charles was refusing to let the English Ambassador in his dominions use the English Communion Service; and the Council went so far as to propose making the Princess personally and alone exempt from Conformity: fortunately, however, for them, affairs in Italy took a turn which gave fresh impulse to the anti-Imperialists in France. The Protestant city of Magdeburg was still holding out against the Imperial troops which were under the command of Maurice of Saxony, and the French King was becoming inclined to give active support to the resistance. The Pope had devoted himself to Charles's interests, and assented to the return of the Council to Trent; and there were hints that Henry might call a Gallican synod, instead of allowing the French ecclesiastics to attend, unless the Lutherans were also represented. The Emperor could no longer imagine himself to be completely master of the situation. In April, the Council felt that he was so far hampered that they could venture to assume a bold front. They informed him that the Act of Uniformity was the Law; that it applied to all subjects, including the Princess; and that they claimed the same freedom for their own ambassador which they were willing to concede reciprocally to his. About the same time the German Diet foiled a pet scheme of Charles, who wished his son Philip (afterwards Philip II. of Spain) to be nominated as his successor to the Imperial crown in place of his brother Ferdinand [Footnote: Charles had ceded the Austrian dominions of the house of Habsburg to Ferdinand in 1522.] who was already King of the Romans. The Germans however preferred the Austrian to the Spanish succession, and rejected the proposal. In June he found that the English and French had come to terms, and had agreed to a French marriage for Edward, on exceedingly easy conditions for France. He still continued to threaten war unless England gave way on the disputed points; but the Council answered only by temporising, and he was soon in no position to threaten. The unrest of the German Protestants and later in the year the assembling of the Council at Trent demanded all his attention. In fact, though he did not suspect it, Maurice of Saxony was even now laying his plans for snapping the bonds which the Emperor was seeking to rivet upon his German subjects. The incompetent hand-to-mouth conduct of foreign affairs in England did not bring disaster on the country, mainly because Charles had not rightly taken the measure of his own strength and of the forces in the Empire adverse to his policy.

[Sidenote: Groups among the Reformers]

The domestic history of England during 1551 is not marked by events of magnitude, but the general trend of affairs is not without significance. No serious attempt was made to deal with any of the existing causes of disorder and uneasiness. Warwick, a man whose entire career presents no evidence of his having possessed any religious convictions whatever, had fixed upon the ultra-protestants as the party whose support would be most valuable to him. Honest enough themselves, these men, typified by Bishop Hooper, were ready to credit with a like honesty any one who talked their particular jargon with sufficient fervour, and to stigmatise as Laodiceans any one who did not go to every length along with them. Cranmer and more positively his right-hand man Ridley-recently made bishop of London in Bonner's room-were now leaning more towards them than when the Prayer-book of 1549 was promulgated; and a considerable personal animus cannot but have entered into their feeling towards Gardiner, whose present unimpeachable attitude of legality was discounted by his participation in the intrigues against Cranmer during the last reign.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Somerset]

It is less really surprising than it seems at first sight to find in Somerset the one man who really interested himself on the side of toleration towards individuals, in the cases both of Mary and of Gardiner. As a matter of fact, although when Protector he had been particularly zealous in the war against images, had carried desecration to abnormal lengths in his private appropriation of spoils, and had grossly transgressed his constitutional powers for the repression of the bishop of Winchester as the ablest of the opponents of his policy: yet he was not generally vindictive, was probably quite satisfied with the compromise of the first prayer-book which did not actually contravene the King's Book, and-except when he was commanding troops in Scotland-liked at least the posture of magnanimity. Entirely devoid of statesmanlike qualities, but afflicted with inordinate vanity, he had been an intolerably incompetent ruler: yet his intentions were usually quite commendable; while the government which succeeded the Protectorate had failed in every particular to establish a claim to respect, nor could he be, like the zealots, hoodwinked into a belief in its honesty. Apart therefore from personal considerations he did not favour its extreme policy, and personal considerations suggested that he might once more oust his rival from power. Lacking the capacity to organise an opposition, he still lent himself to intrigues. He was a possible danger to the Government for one reason and only one-that popularity with the commonalty which had been gained by his well-meant but ill-directed efforts to espouse their cause against the oppression of the wealthier classes.

[Sidenote 1: Fresh attack on Somerset]

[Sidenote 2: 1552 Execution of Somerset]

Warwick therefore, endowed with plentiful cunning and no scruples, decided to be rid of him once for all, and put in the mouth of an accomplice a story, with enough truth in it to be plausible, which sufficed for his purpose. In October Warwick, having procured his own elevation to the Dukedom of Northumberland, that of Dorset to the Dukedom of Suffolk, and that of Herbert to the Earldom of Pembroke, arrested Somerset at the Council. The Duke was accused of compassing the deaths of several Lords of the Council, and of preparations for an armed revolt and for appealing to the populace. On the greater part of the specific charges, the evidence was quite inadequate-but finding that Somerset might be held to have gone far enough to incur the death-sentence for felony under the law passed by the parliament of 1549-50, Northumberland (as Warwick must now be called) made a show of magnanimously withdrawing the accusations so far as he was personally affected. Somerset was duly condemned; but it was not till the end of January (1552) that he was actually executed, in spite of the somewhat pathetic demonstrations in his favour of the populace, who refused to the last to believe that the sentence would really be carried out, and lamented his doom with tears.

[Sidenote: Pacification of Passau]

While Somerset's trial was still going on, agents arrived in England from the German Protestants, inviting assistance in the contemplated revolt against Charles-a movement carried out with sudden and triumphant effectiveness by Maurice of Saxony in the following spring. Had Northumberland given his adhesion, the formation of a Lutheran alliance at this juncture might have very materially altered the subsequent course of events. The opportunity however was not taken. Indeed it is scarcely surprising that the signs of the times should have been misread. Maurice had helped Charles again

st the Schmalkaldic League before; yet everything depended on his discarding the apparently erratic politics of his past career, and displaying in full measure the organising and military genius of which he had given promise, though it still remained to be conclusively proved. He did in fact prove it a few months later, when he all but succeeded in pouncing on the Emperor at Innsbruck. Charles was forced to a hasty flight, and, finding a practically united Germany in arms against him, was reduced to accept the pacification of Passau (July), conceding all that the Lutherans demanded. Maurice's brilliant exploit not only terminated Charles's resistance to the Reformation in Germany; it also released England from all danger of his active hostility.

[Sidenote: England stands aside]

In view however of the uncertainty still, at the end of 1551, attendant on the motives, the aims, and the capacity of Duke Maurice, the decision of the professedly enthusiastic protestants in England to stand aside is hardly a ground for reproach. Disaster had so often been escaped during recent years, through some lucky turn of events abroad supervening on the purely temporising policy of the Government, that they had good reason to hesitate about committing themselves to any irrevocable course; while personal intrigues and the strife of religious parties gave the individual leaders sufficient occupation. Possibly also the influence of the Swiss school, antagonistic as ever to the peculiar tenets of Lutheranism, was not altogether in favour of a too intimate association with German protestantism.

[Sidenote: The Reformation;]

We have remarked upon the increasing influence of this party in the Church; an influence which, as far as concerns the formularies of the Anglican body, was to reach its high-water mark in 1552 and 1553, in the revised prayer-book authorised by Parliament immediately after Somerset's death, and the "Forty-two Articles" promulgated about a year later.

[Sidenote: Its Limits under Henry and under Somerset]

In the reign of the late King, the Reformation which had taken place was almost entirely political and financial-in the constitution of the government of the ecclesiastical body, and the allocation of its endowments. The Sovereign had claimed and enforced his own supremacy, involving the repudiation of papal authority, the submission of the clergy to the Supreme Head, and the appropriation by the Crown of Monastic property. As a necessary corollary, the Crown had also taken upon itself to sanction formularies of belief and to regulate rites and ceremonies; but in doing so it had held by the accepted dogmas, suppressed little except obvious and admitted abuses, and affirmed no heresies. The Archbishop had been in favour of further innovations, but these had not been allowed. All, however, that Cranmer had then advocated, was adopted by Somerset's administration-the extended destruction of images, the liturgy in the vulgar tongue, the marriage of the clergy, the Communion in both kinds; the last being perhaps the most marked deviation from the established order. But though the new liturgy might be reconciled with acceptance of doctrines hitherto accounted heretical, it did not enjoin them; it was still reconcilable also with the King's Book. It had aimed, in short at the maximum of comprehension. The result was to include within the same pale the adherents of a very slightly modified Mass and the extremists of the Swiss school, for whom the Communion Service was purely and simply commemorative.

[Sidenote: The extremists dissatisfied]

Until the death of Henry, the English clergy from the Archbishop down had almost without exception held the hitherto authorised view of the Eucharist. Since then however Cranmer had followed the lead of Ridley, under the influence of the foreign theologians, and had adopted personally a conception [Footnote: This conception is expressed in the phrase of the Catechism that "the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful," coupled with the direct repudiation of Transubstantiation, i.q. the doctrine that the substance of the bread and wine is changed by the Act of Consecration.] which rejected alike in set terms the Transubstantiation of the Roman Mass, the Consubstantiation of the Lutherans, and, implicitly though not explicitly, the purely commemorative theory of Hooper and the Zwinglians.

[Sidenote: 1552 The Liturgy revised]

Thus the extreme comprehensiveness of the first Prayer-book failed to satisfy the school who could not away with the Mass, and those who regarded the Swiss doctrine as heretical. Greater precision, closer definitions, were called for-by way not of changing doctrines but of removing uncertainties. To this end a revision of the volume had been taken in hand, and now received the sanction of Parliament: a revision favouring in the main the Swiss interpretations, the term "minister" taking the place of "priest," "altar" giving way to "table," and the doctrine of transubstantiation being clearly eliminated. At the same time the instruction that the Sacrament was to be received kneeling conveyed a presumption, though not the necessity, that the rite involved a Mystery, that it implied an act of adoration. This was most unsatisfactory to the ultra-protestants, recently re-inforced by the vigorous presence in the North of England of John Knox the Scottish reformer; and before the volume was issued from the press at the end of the year a determined attempt was made to have the obnoxious instruction removed by order. The Archbishop however with resolute dignity protested against the arbitrary subversion of what Parliament had sanctioned. He carried his point, and the instruction was retained, though an explanatory note (known as the Black Rubric)[Footnote: Cf. Dixon, iii., 475 ff.] was appended, with which Knox and his friends were forced, however reluctantly, to be satisfied.

[Sidenote: Nonconformity]

This episode, with that of the consecration of Hooper as bishop of Gloucester, are illustrative of the original sense of the term Nonconformity. Nonconformity, of which Hooper is often referred to as the "father," did not seek separation from the ecclesiastical organisation, but expressed dissatisfaction with particular observances, which it sought to have modified in the Swiss sense: not as being in themselves intolerable, but as tending to encourage superstitious and papistical ideas. So Hooper, after an obstinate struggle, submitted to don the vestments ordered at his consecration; so also Knox, when he was finally worsted in the "kneeling" controversy, submitted to the order though with a very ill grace. The Nonconformists in short may be defined as Puritans who still remained within the pale of the Church. The idea of forming sects outside her borders, of challenging the right to enforce uniformity where points in dispute were not "essential" but "convenient," was still opposed to all recognised principles; the Nonconformists themselves being by no means disposed to surrender the position that if they became predominant they would be entitled to enforce their own views no less rigidly. No one thought of protesting against the burning of one Joan Bocher, in 1550, for affirming a peculiarly unintelligible heresy concerning the mode of the Incarnation.

[Sidenote: Parliament]

The session at the beginning of 1552 was the last held by this, the first, Parliament of Edward VI. Besides authorising the revised Prayer-book, it passed a second Act of Uniformity, of which the novel feature was that penalties were imposed on laymen for non-compliance. In other respects, it did not show itself altogether subservient to Northumberland. A new Treasons Act further reviving some of Henry's provisions was introduced in the Upper House, but rejected by the Commons; who did indeed restore "verbal treason," but pointedly required that two witnesses at least should prove the guilt of the accused to his face-with evident reference to the recent trial of Somerset.

Cranmer had been occupied not only with the Prayer-book, but also with the preparation of Articles of Belief, and of a scheme which, as drawn up, was generally known as the Reformatio Legum, elaborating a plan of ecclesiastical administration. The latter appears to have seen the light either in 1551 or 1552, but it was never authorised. The Forty-two articles, substantially the same as the Thirty-nine of the present Prayer-book, certainly did not come before parliament and probably did not come before Convocation, [Footnote: Dixon, iii., 513 ff. Gairdner, English Church, 311.] but were sanctioned by almost the last act of the King in Council in 1553.

[Sidenote: 1553 A new Parliament]

The national finances continued in an increasingly chaotic condition, and Northumberland's struggles to raise money during 1552 were attended with such inadequate results that he found it necessary to summon a new Parliament in the spring of 1553. There were not wanting, from the last reign, precedents for bringing royal pressure to bear on constituencies to secure the selection of amenable representatives, and the principle was now applied with a reckless comprehensiveness. Nevertheless the Houses when assembled were by no means prepared to carry out a programme which would satisfy Northumberland.

[Sidenote: Northumberland's programme]

In fact that man of many wiles lacked the art, necessary for one with his ambitions, of securing a devoted personal following. For some time past the probability of the young King's early decease had been recognised, and Northumberland's intrigues had been directed to excluding Mary from the succession, and securing a sovereign whom he would himself be able to dominate. He had had his chance, when the Protector was overthrown in 1549, of taking the line of policy which would bring him into accord with the heir presumptive; he made his election, and thenceforward was committed to the Reforming party and to political destruction if Mary should become Queen. He devoted his attention then primarily to gaining a predominant influence over the young King, with great success-the result, in no small measure, of his posing as a puritan; for the boy had all the uncompromising partisanship natural to the morbid precocity which his ill-health and Tudor cleverness combined to develop. If Edward had lived, no doubt the Tudor penetration would have unmasked Northumberland in due course; but this the Duke would hardly have anticipated in any case, and, as it was, he laid his plans on the hypothesis that Edward would die without leaving an heir of his body. Now the succession was fixed by Henry's Will, ratified by Act of Parliament, first on Mary and then on Elizabeth, though both had been declared illegitimate. If they could be set aside, the first claim by descent would lie with Mary Stewart, grandchild of Henry's sister Margaret; but the country would not take her at any price. The next claimant, confirmed also by Henry's Will, would be Lady Jane Grey, passing over her mother Frances Brandon, daughter of Henry's second sister Mary. Frances Brandon had married Lord Dorset, created Duke of Suffolk at the same time that Dudley became Duke of Northumberland.

[Sidenote: Plot to change the succession]

The Duke's scheme then was to supplant the Tudor princesses, on the score of their illegitimacy once officially affirmed, by Lady Jane Grey; having first secured a dominating influence over his unhappy puppet by marrying her to one of his sons, Guildford Dudley. It might plausibly be argued that, since the courts had definitely declared that neither Mary nor Elizabeth was born in lawful wedlock, no subsequent legitimation could give them precedence over an indubitably legitimate descendant of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York: while political expediency excluded the sole claimant with a prior hereditary right.

There remained, however, the inconvenient fact that the whole country from the Council down had deliberately and unhesitatingly pledged itself to maintain the order of succession laid down in Henry's Will. Something more than an abstract argument from legitimacy was needed to cancel a decision arrived at and established after mature deliberation. Had Mary made herself feared or detested-had Lady Jane been a popular favourite with an organised following-there might have been some chance for a coup d'état. But the treatment of Mary coupled with her dignified and courageous conduct had made her the object of popular sympathy; the only people who feared her were those who had been prominent in attacking the Old Learning, and their following in the country was by no means proportionate to their political and theological activity. Their support-all that Northumberland could hope for-would be quite insufficient for carrying his plan through; while the Duke himself, very unlike his late rival Somerset, was an object of such general aversion that any scheme calculated to maintain him in power would have excited keen popular antagonism.

[Sidenote 1: Northumberland gains over Edward and the Council]

[Sidenote 2: Death of Edward]

The marriage of Lady Jane was accomplished early in May (1553); Pembroke, as well as Suffolk, was apparently secured by the marriage [Footnote: After Northumberland's fiasco, this marriage was judiciously voided.] of his son to a sister, Katharine Grey. Besides these Northumberland could count on Northampton. Further, he could be sure that France would go as far as diplomacy permitted to prevent the accession of Mary, on account of her relationship with the Emperor, to whom she had all her life looked for counsel. As Edward's death drew nearer, the Duke prepared his final coup. If Henry by Will could lay down the course of succession, his son was equally free to change it. It was not difficult to persuade the dying boy of the woes that would follow when a reactionary monarch was on the throne-though there had hitherto been no sign that the reaction would go beyond a reversion to the position of Henry's last years. Under Northumberland's influence, he devised the crown to the issue of the Duchess of Suffolk who was herself passed over in favour of her eldest daughter. In June this "device" was submitted to the Council, with whom however it found little favour. But in view of the personal danger in which they stood, they gave assent subject to the approval of Parliament, arguing that it was unprecedented for a King, to say nothing of one who was still a minor, to set aside an Act of Parliament by his own authority. The Judges, summoned to the Royal presence, unanimously declared that it would be unconstitutional-in effect treason-if they drew up letters patent in the sense desired without authority of parliament; and the more they examined the law, the more convinced they were of their position. But the King was insistent; and at last one by one, they reluctantly gave way, on condition of receiving positive instructions under the Great Seal and an anticipatory pardon in case their obedience should prove-as they believed it-to be a crime. The Letters were drawn, and at last signed by a number of peers and representative men, Cranmer finally yielding his adhesion after prolonged resistance, on the strength of the assertion that the judges had given their sanction. He was not informed how that sanction had been obtained. Cecil, the Burghley of a later reign, would only sign "as a witness". The signatures were appended on June 21st. The affair was still kept secret-though the existence of some conspiracy to supplant Mary was becoming generally suspected. The interval was spent in making preparations to support the coup d'état in arms. On July 4th the rumour that the King was already dead was only partially dispelled by letting his face be seen at a window. On the 6th he actually died. On the 8th the fact began to leak out, and on the 10th Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen in London.

[Sidenote: A memorable voyage]

One incident of note occurred during King Edward's last months-the departure of Chancellor and Willoughby's expedition in search of a North-East passage, an entirely novel direction. Chancellor reached the White Sea, and from thence was conveyed to Moscow, with the result that relations were opened between England and Russia. In other respects there was some private activity in the voyages of this and the ensuing reign, but nothing else demanding special attention.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares